Thursday, May 30, 2013

{Weekly Kids Co-op #8}

Link up to this week's Kids Co-op (and don't forget to include the button below in your post or on your blog to link back! My features from last week are a little delayed since we've been doing so much work for our new blog hop: Magic Moments going live next Monday, June 3rd! Don't worry,  I will have them soon! In the meantime, check out some of the other awesome submissions ;) 

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Introducing Magic Moments Monday!

I am thrilled to announce the official launch of an exciting project that's been in the works. Beginning the first Monday in June (June 3rd, mark your calendars!) Kz and Me along with LalyMom , Pennies of Time, House of Burke, Play Learn Love and Simple Home Blessings will be launching a brand new blog hop - Magic Moments Monday!

"Magic moments" with children are those moments that are touching, funny, insightful, and ones you want to remember forever! Share your "magic moments" with us to help inspire others to connect with children in meaningful and lasting ways. "Magic moments" happen through playing, crafting, reading, talking or simply laughing with your children. We invite you to open your eyes to the many Magic Moments throughout your week and return next Monday to share them here with us!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our Favorite Playground

We moved about 6 months ago and we're still getting acquainted with our new area. So, after reading a great post from Little Moments about finding the best playground ever, we accepted the challenge to go on a playground hunt! 

On our search, we found so many great playgrounds. Some were new, some were old, some fancy, some simple. But, after much exploring, we finally found it. 
 Our playground.

10 Awesome things about OUR playground: 

1) It's in walking distance to our home. This is a huge plus. I don't have to worry about packing up the car, parking, travel time... We just hop in the stroller and go. 

2) It's one large sandbox. This makes it fun even without the equipment. Yes, there's a little more cleanup required when the day is through, but I don't really mind. I also think the sand is softer than the rubber flooring in most playgrounds and provides a good cushion for Kz's frequent spills. 

 3) It's a tot park. I didn't even know they had public tot parks. Everything is small enough for Kz to practice crawling, climbing, pulling, and sliding ALL ON HIS OWN. There are only a few things I had to help him with and after some practice, he was able to move through the entire park with no help at all. 

4) There are permanent little toy trucks to play with. How cute is that? Kz LOVES these and knowing they are here means I don't have to buy them! If you're like me, you dread those awkward mommy moments when your child wants to play with a toy that another child has brought to the park. These trucks are park property so everyone shares them graciously.

5) There are developmentally appropriate manipulatives attached to small wall panels throughout the park. They are all just the right height so Kz can cruise around, stopping along the way to spin the wheel, listen to the chimes or peek in the mirror.

6) Chain link fences may not be chic but they are PERFECT for a cruising baby. They have tons of places to grab onto and the holes make for a nice scenic route. Kz does laps around the perimeter of the park. This is excellent exercise (and the ultimate prelude to a great afternoon nap).

7) There are lots of natural treasures to dig up and explore. On this day, we found another (not so natural) treasure that had been left behind and gave it some love, too.

8) There are lots of small crawl spaces for curious kids to explore. One of Kz's favorite pastimes is finding the smallest space in our home and trying to squeeze himself under, over or through it. You think I can install these tubes in my house?

9) There are still some challenges. While Kz can do most of the things at this playground, there are still some things he cannot do just yet. There is room to grow into this park and that means we can continue to visit for years to come.

10) It's never crowded. Before we moved, we lived in NYC and there was never a time when a park wasn't crowded. While I became used to that type of living, there is something so serene about the fact that this park is never full. There are usually one or two other children there and sometimes we even have it to ourselves.

Have you found YOUR playground yet?

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Counting and Number Games for Kids {Weekly Kid's Co-op #7}

This week we are featuring some awesome counting and number activities from the 
Weekly Kid's Co-op.

Invisible Chicka Chicka 123 - And Next Comes L
Acorn Number and Balancing Game - Learn with Play at Home
20 Useful Math Games for Children - Lessons Learnt Journal

Here's this week's linky. Click READ MORE to add your favorite kid-friendly ideas and please don't forget to link back. Check out some other submissions while your here and leave comments to spread the link love. 
See you next week!

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Monday, May 20, 2013

Corn Silk Color and Shape Sensory Bin

You're going to think I've really lost it now, but you know my theory about using perfectly good food as a sensory material (If you don't, you can read it HERE, where I directly contradict myself by using spaghetti as a sensory tool), so I am constantly on the lookout for ways to use food extras. Anyway, when I was shucking corn for an impromptu BBQ, I started eyeing the silk. My husband could see the wheels turning from a mile away and said, "Can you at least finish shucking it before doing whatever your about to do with it." (Sorry hunny). So I did my duty, all the while making sure to save every strand of that corn silk.

It was so cool! Long, shiny, rubbery, sticky, stringy...perfect for sensory play! The best part is, it would have gone right in the garbage anyway, so why not explore it a bit first, right?

When I finished extracting the silky strands from the corn husk (which was super easy by the way), I decided they needed some color. I separated them into four different bowls and mixed in a few drops of food coloring. I used rubber dishwashing gloves to do this because food coloring really gets in the skin and is terrible to clean. It rinsed right off the gloves with water. Let the color dry a bit or you will be stamped with food coloring as soon as you touch it due to the non-absorbent nature of the silk. I let it stand for about an hour and it was good to go. To spice things up even more, I added shapes that corresponded with each color in the bin. Now it was time to play!

Note: The strands break fairly easily and you DO NOT want to be cleaning this stuff up off your floor or your carpet, so take this activity outside.

Kz pulled the strands and mushed them around, looking at the web of silk that stuck between his fingers. He flung large piles of silk and giggled when they landed on the grass (relieved to have his hands free again). He searched for his shapes...

And worked hard to free them from the corn silk, too.

What crazy things have you been using for sensory play?

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Friday, May 17, 2013

12 Flower Activities Perfect for Spring {Weekly Kid's Co-op #6}

Spring is in the air and the flowers are in full bloom. Here are 12 flower-themed activities for kids from the Weekly Kid's Co-op!
  1. Pounded Flower Prints - Life with Moore Babies
  2. Planting Flowers - Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails 
  3. Montessori Inspired Flower Activities - Living Montessori Now
  4. Spring Banners from Leaf and Flower Pounding - Buggy and Buddy
  5. Painting with Flowers - Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
  6. Picasso Inspired Flower Craft - Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes
  7. Connecting Nature and Art Flower Craft - KC Edventures
  8. Hand Print Flower Bags - We Made That.Com
  9. Hand Print Flowers - We Made That.Com
  10. Flower Beading - The Usual Mahem @ B-Inspired Mama
  11. Muffin Cup Flower Craft - Squarehead Teachers  
  12. MYO Flower Fairies - Mama Rosemary 
 Come link up this week by clicking READ MORE below! Please check some of the other amazing ideas at the Kid's Co-op and don't forget to link back by grabbing the button! 

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Demolition Derby {for Creative Playhouse}

This is a guest post written for Creative Playhouse! Find out how to play by clicking HERE. While you're there, take a look at Creative Playhouse's Brilliant Baby Play Series! Tons of great ideas suited perfectly for young tots!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shredded Paper Mural

A few posts back, we wrote about our adventures with shredded paper play. If you recall, Kz wasn't too fond of the paper at first. (If you missed it, click HERE). He warmed up to it, but since then I've been weary of taking it out. This morning, I decided it was time to revisit the shredded paper in a new (and less intimidating) way.

I prepared the wall with a sheet of contact paper, sticky side out. I would have loved to do this activity in a window, but we don't have one close enough to the ground for Kz to reach while working. (If you do, go for it!) Then I placed a small pile of shreds in front of him and demonstrated how to bring a shred up to the contact paper and press to stick.

It took some getting used to, but Kz got the hang of it, even getting on his knees to place the shreds higher up. We found some old shoelaces that I helped Kz stick, but most of them were too heavy for the contact paper to hold. Boo. Anyway, when we needed more shreds, I dumped them into a basket so Kz wouldn't be surrounded by shreds on the floor (we all know how he feels about that...).

We worked on the mural for a long while. Sometimes Kz would stop to examine the shreds in the basket. Other times he would pull down some of the ones we'd already hung. When he finished pulling them down, we worked together to stick them back up.

And once we were on a roll, we nearly filled the sticky paper. It was fun to try and find empty spaces to stick the shreds (for me, that is... Kz didn't care much if it stuck or not). I pointed to them so Kz could find them, too.

While we worked, I found myself wishing the shreds had been colorful but in the end, I liked the way it was monochromatic. It made the texture of the mural all the more appealing. 

When Kz had had enough, I removed the mural from the wall and rehung it in the window so the light could shine through. We admired it while we ate (it was next to our dining table) and Kz pulled strands off every once in a while as he cruised on by. 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weekly Kid's Co-op #5

Here are some of the highlights from the Kid's Co-op last week! 

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Cutting Grass - It's so simple! I love ideas like this. Kz is too young for it, right now, but I will be pinning this for future use. Activities like this are great because they have developmental benefits and keep young ones engaged for extended periods of time. I remember how much my 3 year old students LOVED trimming our classroom plants, eek! If only I had thought to take the scissors outside... Thanks, Raise a Boy!

 Mud, Mud Glorious Mud - Housing a Forest and Growing a Jeweled Rose teamed up to do a Play Inspired by Nature series and this mud play looks INCREDIBLE. I don't think I could conjure up this much mud without digging up the neighbors flowerbeds, but I'd love to try some painting and drawing with a few cupfuls!

Planting a Rainbow Sensory Board - I love the Springy nature and literary connection of this sensory board from House of Burke. Kz has been destroying all of our lovely planted flowers in the yard. This may be just what he needs!

Link up your favorite kid friendly ideas, activities and recipes! Don't forget to check out some of the other submissions and leave some love.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Few of Kz's Favorite Things

As a former preschool teacher, I value materials as inspiration and tools for learning. Having studied the Reggio Emilia philosophy, I am attracted to authentic materials and loose parts. Of course, we have our fair share of toys. It's an eclectic mix of plastic, illuminating, singing toys with all the bells and whistles alongside solid wood, Montessori-inspired puzzles and fluffy stuffed animals. There is a little bit of everything. And Kz loves all of them.

But you know what he loves more? Measuring spoons. The remote control. My sweatshirt string...

 It always fascinates me when Kz picks a new favorite play thing because who knows what it will be? Sometimes it is actually one of his toys. Most often, it's a piece of lint or a crumb that he sneakily found on the floor.

Lately, I've noticed a pattern in Kz's favorite things. 
1) They have handles or are small enough for easy toting while crawling and cruising.
2) A part of them fits perfectly in Kz's mouth.

Like so...

Kz loves this little wooden hammer. He can hold it in his hand (check!) and can fit part of the top portion in his mouth (check!). He's been lugging this thing around for weeks. Kz also loves these Mega Blocks. He's not ready to build with them yet (though knocking them down is always fun), but he carries one under each hand while crawling and you guessed it, eats the tops.

Maybe these golf balls don't look like they fit Kz's criteria, but give them a closer look and yup! They fit perfectly in the palms of his hands while he crawls and their dimples make a great texture for gnawing. 
My son is like a little hamster.

Hallelujah! My kid likes books. He actually looks through these and loves turning the pages. And he doesn't even bite them. (Maybe sometimes).

These fit the criteria. You get the gist by now.

Here is the one exception!!! Since he was born, Kz has loved this stuffed toy. We call him Monkey Friend. He was a gift and has always made Kz smile.

He screeches whenever he sees Monkey Friend and goes in for a big hug and ...


Nope. He's not eating his nose. That's a kiss. Yes it is. I swear. Oh come on...

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weekly Kid's Co-op #4

This week we took a little blog vacay but we're back! Can't wait to read what you've shared! Also, did you see our new logo? Krissy from B-inspired Mama gave the Kids' Coop emblem a little face lift. It looks great doesn't it?
The Weekly Kids Co-Op

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